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Patrick H.
Patrick H., Lawyer
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 5422
Experience:  Dip Law LPAB - Sydney based lawyer
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My son has just separated from his wife. They have 2 yrs old

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My son has just separated from his wife. They have 2 yrs old child. The split has not been friendly. My son works 8 days of shift work with 4 off the last shift being night shift & he requested that he has his son for 2 days & 2 nights. His wife has refused. What can he do about this?
Hello and thank you for your question.

In custodial disputes of this type the courts generally require the parties to undertake formal mediation before they can apply to the courts. Mediation can be arranged through organisations such as Relationships Australia:

If the parties cannot reach a satisfactory shared custody arrangement, then the next step is to apply to the court to make orders for shared custody.

Courts decide parenting applications on the basis of what is in the best interests of the child and there is a strong general presumption that it is in the best interests of a child that it develop or maintain good relationships with both parents.

To that end the courts will normally grant at least substantial custody and access to both parents, and although rarely feasible, in cases where it is practical and the parents are willing, 50%/50% custody may be granted.

The court will generally only greatly restrict or limit access/custody where there are serious issues such that a parent may pose some risk to the child, such as where the parent has serious drug, violence, mental health, sexual abuse issues or a very serious criminal history which leads the court to believe they may not be a fit person to care for a child. Absent such concerns or your son should have little problem obtaining substantial custody of the child and his proposal to seek 2 days and 2 nights seems extremely reasonable.

Even so, any time an application regarding custodial arrangemetns is made I would recommend your son engage a family lawyer to prepare and represent your son as the prospects of satisfactory orders will be much greater if his case is properly prepared and represented.

I also would hope that the mother would see reason once dealing with your son in a formal mediation, so hopefully court proceedings will not be necessary.

I trust the above assists.

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Thank you and good luck.

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